The top of the Sentinel Hike in the Drakensberg Mountains, Royal Natal National Park.

© Alexandre G. ROSA / Shutterstock

Royal Natal National Park

Drakensberg & uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

Royal Natal National Park is one of the best spots in the entire KZN Wildlife system. The park and its surrounds are full of movie-quality scenery (literally: the 1964 film Zulu was shot here) and so many activities that those looking to take in everything the park has to offer should plan a multi-day stay.

With some of the Drakensberg’s most dramatic and accessible scenery, the park is crowned by the sublime Amphitheatre, an 8km wall of cliff and canyon that is spectacular from below and even more so from up on high. Here the Tugela Falls drop 850m in five stages (the top one often freezes in winter). Looming up behind is Mont-aux-Sources (3282m), so called because the Tugela, Elands and Western Khubedu Rivers rise here; the last eventually becomes the Senqu (Orange) River and flows all the way to the Atlantic. The park is renowned for its excellent day walks and hiking opportunities.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Drakensberg & uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park attractions

1. San Rock Art

2.79 MILES

Of several San rock-art sites within the park, this is the only one open to tourists. Siyaphambili Elijah tours, whose representatives you can usually…

2. Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve

18.44 MILES

The small Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is in a beautiful area of the Drakensberg foothills, and home to springbok, zebra, rhebok and wildebeest…

3. Basotho Cultural Village

20.97 MILES

Within the park you’ll find the small Basotho Cultural Village, essentially an open-air museum peopled by actors depicting various aspects of traditional…

4. Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve

22.5 MILES

Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve is known for having some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the Drakensberg. It sits between Royal Natal National Park and…

5. Didima San Rock Art Centre

22.5 MILES

The Didima San Art Centre, at Didima Camp 1km into Royal Natal National Park, offers an insight into San rock art, though sadly many of the exhibits,…

6. Golden Gate Highlands National Park

26.79 MILES

The Free State's only national park is known for its dramatic, golden-hued sandstone cliffs and outcroppings, abundant wildlife (including eland, zebra…

7. Spioenkop Nature Reserve

28.97 MILES

The Spioenkop Nature Reserve is a tranquil spot surrounding a dam on the Tugela river that zebras, white rhinos, giraffes, antelope and over 290 bird…